Jump to content
  • Advertisement

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

sunandshadow

basic morals - what ones are there?

This topic is 6215 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

In the past week I''ve read fairy tales, african myths, and a Dr. Seuss book, and watched a VeggieTales movie. Interestingly, they all seemed to be teaching some of the same few moral lessons: don''t be overly proud, be nice to strangers and people who are different than you, agreeing to disagree is better than a feud, the golden rule, be generous, be respectful, power and wealth do not cause happiness, etc. Most of them can be summed up by saying: be nice to others because they might be able to help you later, something even chimpanzees seem to understand. The rest can be summed up as: being happy is better than being dominant - also something many apes seem to know. So, 2 questions: why do we feel the need to make children''s shows with such obvious morals? And what other really basic morals are there?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
"being happy is better than being dominant - also something many apes seem to know." ... hmm, i seem to remember something about silverbacked apes, etc. there''s /extreme/ dominance for ya.

and if you believe in darwin, everything has a natural instinct to survive and be the best. maybe we''re just trying to compensate for that. or maybe we just put so many morals in our cartoons so we won''t feel bad about setting our kids in front of the television and let barney do our parenting.

obvious morals? obvious morals because you''ve grown up being fed these same morals all of your life by society?

maybe obvious morals are along the same lines as "you expect everyone to drive down the correct side of the road," "you expect to find only mail in your mailbox," and any other number of assumptions we have so humanity runs just a little bit better. maybe these morals are implicit to everything (okay, they are. i just wanted the parallel sentence structure to help my argument along) and children''s programming, written with almost all complex and "adult" ideas stripped from them, just has these morals more exposed than what you''re used to in everyday life.

if this is the case, we don''t need to list these morals; you already know them (if you''re keeping sufficiently out of jail and all).

and to throw a gaming spin on it, to make it semi-relavent... nevermind, i can''t do that. there''s really nothing to discuss because either a game doesn''t include them at all, like doom, or it comes off as trite, childrens'' programming-like writting in games like chrono trigger.


morals are funny things. i tend not to worry too much about them. (just like comedians)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It isn''t only childrens shows... have you ever seen Walker Texas Ranger? 7th Heaven?... these shows are so predictable because you know that the good guys always win. Here in Sydney, Walker gets a 2:00am timeslot ... but I tape it anyway because it is so funny to watch.

It could possibly be just because they don''t want to shock viewers: "hey, that guy was nice but he got killed by the mean bad guy", which is possibly to upsetting for the younger viewers. Although I wouldn''t know a thing about that kind of psychology so I could be wrong.

There is also the way that telling someone in authority is the best option, like telling the teacher that Bobby stole your lunch kind of thing.

Trying is the first step towards failure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
quote:
Original post by fosborb
"being happy is better than being dominant - also something many apes seem to know." ... hmm, i seem to remember something about silverbacked apes, etc. there's /extreme/ dominance for ya.


That's a pretty black-and-white view. There's ONE dominant ape, and the others all leave him alone. The reason: it's better to be content than to go through the hassle of trying to assert that you are the "best" in a very limited set of things. The rest of the apes are perfectly content to have the "order" imposed on them. It also grants responsibilities onto the Silverback that most other apes would rather not be involved with.

You talked about Darwin:
quote:
everything has a natural instinct to survive and be the best

What defines "best"? Nobody really knows, and there is quite possibly no true definition of "best". That's where morals come in. Gathering the entire culture around a similar definition of "best", so that the entire culture/community has the best chance to survive. Individual survival is NOT a goal of most species, it's species survival they go for. Dismissing morality as unimportant is irresponsible, because you are taxing species survival. Species have a tendency to weed out those individuals that put their good above the good of the rest of the community.




People might not remember what you said, or what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
Mad Keith the V.

Edited by - MadKeithV on June 11, 2001 4:38:54 AM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There''s too many people on this small planet.
We need a large set of morals to at least try and keep the majority of them at peace.

That group of apes can do with a pretty small set of morals.
Do whatever number 1 says.
Don''t hurt any of the group.

You better believe they all do what number 1 says, or they''ll get punished for it. And they won''t hurt any of the group, because the group is so small and they''ll be surely found out if they do hurt one of their own.

The life of the ape is pretty simple as well. Eat, drink, procreate, relax and sleep. To eat/drink, they go to wherever food/water is. The rest of the day they can spend doing the rest of their things. Make a bed where you are and sleep in it.

Now to human beings. Instead of just 10-20, there are 5 billion of us. We''re all divided into large groups, where usually we have a number 1. But number 1 usually doesn''t really have all that much power (in democratic societies at least). The power has been distributed downward to a lot of other people.

But, when one of the members of a group hurts someone else, they''re not bound to be found out. The group is simply too large.

As the action=reaction simply does not apply for this large group of human beings, they have to start teaching their young a large set of morals and standards.

In this day and age parents aren''t really all that proficient at this: do YOU know how to teach a kid morals and standards?

It seems like it''s a lost art. So, let''s take the next best thing. Let''s let TV teach our children morals and standards. Easy. Just put your kid in front of a tv and let them learn all they need to know from there. All the parent needs to do is look at the rating of the tv show and maybe watch it with the kid once to know what the show is like. That''ll save the parent a lot of time, time that can be spent working to make more money, to be able to give the child a better future (I disagree with this as I think it''s more important to give your child a good emotional future than a good material one).

Television is all about money. Tv shows are being produced to be seen, so that the owner of the channel can charge companies large sums of money for advertising.

Since the networks know that parents like television to teach their children morals, they''ve all included these morals in their shows.

That''s the way I see it. I don''t know if this is all really bad (who knows, maybe tv is a better teacher than a parent) but I just can''t imagine that a tv is a place for children to learn morals. Because once they establish tv as a teacher, they just might also learn things from it that we DON''t want them to learn. If they learn to appreciate all beings from their early morning cartoon... will they also learn to hate their fellow beings from watching Jerry Springer later on? (and no matter how many chips you put into a tv, kids will find a way to watch the ''forbidden'', especially if they really like tv)

So, to answer the original two questions:

1) Why so many children shows with obvious morals?
Answer: makes more money for the tv channel, because parents want the tv to be somewhat of a morality teacher. Either because they figure ''hey, my kid watches tv anyway, might as well teach it while it''s watching'' or because they figure ''man, I''m tired, I''ll just pop my kid in front of the tv and let him learn life''s lessons that way''.

2) What other basic morals are there?
Answer: there''s a moral for every vice, every bad behaviour you can come up with. The worse the world is, the more morals you''ll have to teach your children. If you think about it, it''s absurd that we even have to teach our children to respect all other humans and not to hate them. That should be the standard to START from, not a goal to strife for.

From a gaming perspective, I say dump morals. Don''t create morals as a designer, because those morals will be created by the player community in your game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
darwin and silverback males (there''s still competition to be the best, guys... don''t you watch pbs?) were included as examples to refute the sweeping generalities of the post before, not as examples of which the conversation should be based. "to be the best," is a general statement that didn''t neccesarily mean "individual best," but i still think the statement holds true, in darwin''s eyes. sorry for the confusion. we could probably move off of that point.

oh, while i''m still off topic, i tend not to worry about morals because i don''t see a direct way of changing them. sure, if i gradually change my philosophy of life, my morals will gradually change with it, but i can''t just go "okay, i''ll change this moral." it''s a temporary bandaid, and something many religious people do after a particularily well written sermon and end up forgetting about it a few minutes after they leave the church.


begin topical discussion:

silvermyst, way to elaborate on my poorly sketched arguements. thank you. (i always forget that people can''t jump to my conclusions... that i have to explain how i got there) however, if including morals in childrens programming was just a financial concern, what would be left of the cartoon if they didn''t? there needs to be a plot, and the main characters need to make decisions. to not follow the obviously "right" way as dictated by society brings up many questions and ideas that a child of 4, who still thinks poo pooing in the toilet is a pretty neat idea, might not be able to grasp.

but the day care phenomenon is pretty new, in the history of entertainment. /all/ stories have some moral element to them, it just depends how masked it is. morality is just the reasons why we chose when presented with options of a fairly cerebral nature. i mean, everything has a message because a plot, where no one made a choice, would be quite boring indeed. (and even then the existential writings have a philosophy to them that, if followed, dictates certain responses to moral questions.)


of course, these are all just crazy sweeping generalities.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
quote:

Original post by Sylvermist
We''re all divided into large groups, where usually we have a number 1. But number 1 usually doesn''t really have all that much power (in democratic societies at least).



And who might be that number 1, the most powerful in the world ? *lol* Are you thinking maybe of the President of the United States of America ?!

quote:

Original post by MadKeithV
That''s a pretty black-and-white view. There''s ONE dominant ape, and the others all leave him alone. The reason: it''s better to be content than to go through the hassle of trying to assert that you are the "best" in a very limited set of things. The rest of the apes are perfectly content to have the "order" imposed on them. It also grants responsibilities onto the Silverback that most other apes would rather not be involved with.



*LOL* I actually considered rolling on the floor loughing a bit so I could write *ROFL*. Or buying a cat so I can write *ROFLSTC*

From your post I understand that the monkeys fight not because they all want to be the leader, but because they all want to live in peace, and the poor looser of the fight is forced to be the leader (and get all the females, all the best food, etc.).


quote:

Individual survival is NOT a goal of most species, it''s species survival they go for.



This is so true. Not a moral thing, but a harsh fact of life. That is the reason why NO individuals are immortal (nature could have done that easily if it wanted to). A species survival can only be achieved by evolution. The rules of evolution (survival of the fittest, mutations that can succeed or mostly fail, etc.) are so unforgiving that the Christians deny evolution altogether, unable to accept that their moral god imposed such rules on the human specie. And if we thought coldly about it, great achievements like antibiotics are actually a hindrance to evolution, and ultimately threaten the survival of the specie. (Just think about genetic algorithms.) However I and most of the people seem to care more about our person wellfare than the survival of the specie or evolution.



quote:

Original post by sunandshadow
Most of them can be summed up by saying: be nice to others because they might be able to help you later, something even chimpanzees seem to understand. The rest can be summed up as: being happy is better than being dominant - also something many apes seem to know.



Well, the fact that monkeys prefer happiness over power may be the reason why we own the world and they get locked in circus cages and in zoos and are used for medical experiments. Although from my Discovery Channel knowledge, the only specie naive enough to (claim to?) think higher of happiness than of dominance are humans.

quote:

And what other really basic morals are there?



To put it in Nietzsche''s terms, there are two kinds of morals : slave morals and master morals.

The first center around the ideas of freedom, community, solidarity, tolerance, helping each other. (Christians and post Christians are a good example).

The latter value their ancestors, the older people, traditions, hierarchy, family bindings, they follow strict honor codes, they respect power and authority and are quite insensitive to other peoples suffering (the Japanese samurai, the Jews of the Old Testament, the ancient Greeks and Romans at the peek of their civilisations, the fremens from Dune).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
quote:
Original post by Diodor
From your post I understand that the monkeys fight not because they all want to be the leader, but because they all want to live in peace, and the poor looser of the fight is forced to be the leader (and get all the females, all the best food, etc.).



Well then you should definately learn to read more closely:
I meant that apes (they are not monkeys) do NOT fight because it''s not worth the hassle. The SilverBack ape is the one that through past evolution has been decided to have the best set of genes for species survival. The only way to assert that set is through physical dominance (because physical strength was an important factor in ape survival the past few million years). The other apes instinctively "know" this to be true (well they actually don''t know diddley, but they won''t challenge the view because they have hereditarily accepted the order).
This, is what "morality" is in the context of apes. A set of rules to live by that make life easier or easiest for species-survival. Unfortunately for apes, their morality is based on genetics, and they are therefore not quite quick enough to adapt to new circumstances (i.e. us).


Your argument about antibiotics is completely off. By claiming that you discard the last few thousand years of human growth: we''ve gone way beyond physical strength in the human race. Physical strength is no longer a measure of how "good" you are for the survival of the species. The one thing that sets us apart most widely from all other species is our brain. That particular brain is perfectly good even if the rest of your body is perfectly worthless (Stephen Hawking). That''s why human morals have adapted to include such things as "the right to live", "social security", a nice pension, etc etc. Many physically less-able people, including most scientists, would never be able to assert themselves in a mostly physical society, and therefore their genetic material would be lost.
The species does not want to lose this material at all (and humans are actually smart enough to realise it).



People might not remember what you said, or what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
Mad Keith the V.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
quote:
Original post by MadKeithV
The species does not want to lose this material at all (and humans are actually smart enough to realise it).



The human species obviously does not include the people who write up advertisements.

i think we tend to reward those of physical prowness and piddly brains. sure, we give lots of money and degrees and thingies to the really smart people, but do we give them some varied genetic material to jackhammer away at (or be jackhammered by)? no, smart people marry and breed more smart people, and on and on it goes until we get virtual stagnation in the smart side of the gene pool, while the guys who pack into gyms and nice little swedish blondes all marry each other stagnate the crazed "idyllic" side of our gene pool.

the non-extremes get left to muck about in the kiddie pool. the kiddie pool with pee in it. kiddie pee.

Edited by - fosborb on June 12, 2001 3:55:56 AM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hehe.. it''s an interesting topic, but unfortunately too far off-topic for the Game Design forum now. I''ll give it a few more messages. If they are related to game design, it can stay. Otherwise I''ll either close it or move it to the Lounge.

I won''t be taking part in the discussion anymore, ''cause it''s kinda my fault it drifted so far off-topic.


People might not remember what you said, or what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
Mad Keith the V.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

Participate in the game development conversation and more when you create an account on GameDev.net!

Sign me up!